Every time I hear this song, it makes me feel emotional. I don’t understand why it pulls my heart strings to such an extent – is it the words, is it the music, is it the desperation in Kenny Rodger’s voice, or is it a combination of all three?

I know not. I just know it brings tears to my eyes, and a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now that’s what I call songwriting.

The song, which came out in 1969, gives a very visual picture, and, as the words come tumbling out, each time I hear it, I see this brave and struggling Vietnam War veteran, sitting in his wheelchair, desperate to keep his beloved Ruby’s love, and as he watches her doing up her makeup to go out, he begs her not to leave him. He is fully aware of his limitations and knows he can no longer satisfy her needs, but he is afraid of being abandoned and losing his lover and feels completely impotent.

I feel every one of those emotions, and it tears my heart. What sort of idiot must I be, that it affects me so emotionally? I’m not a war veteran, I didn’t support that war, I’ve never been in this situation, and I’m not a man, so what is it?

I’ll tell you what it is – this song, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, has very powerful empathy, and Kenny Rodgers and the band knew just how to play it with maximum feeling and effect. The Vietnam War is over, but there are still wounded soldiers coming home, and this song is for all of them.

Listen to Kenny Rogers singing Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town on these videos

This is the edition that I have myself

This one is great because you can read the lyrics as you listen

Broken Hearted

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